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Author Notes:

Address reprint requests to: Iain T. Shepherd, D.Phil., Department of Biology, Emory University, 1510 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30322. E-mail:ishephe@emory.edu

A.D. Present address: Georgia Gwinnett College, School of Science and Technology, Lawrenceville, Georgia.


Research Funding:

We would like to acknowledge the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation for financial support that enabled the Department of Biology to establish the new Introductory Laboratory Series at Emory and research support that made it possible to generate lessen mutant embryos for the labs to IS from NIH (DK067285).

Zebrafish Development and Genetics: Introducing Undergraduates to Developmental Biology and Genetics in a Large Introductory Laboratory Class


Journal Title:



Volume 6, Number 2


, Pages 169-177

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


We have taken advantage of the strengths of the zebrafish model system to introduce developmental biology and genetics to undergraduates in their second semester of the Introductory Biology course at Emory. We designed a 6-week laboratory module based on research being undertaken by faculty in the department, and incorporated experiments that used current research methods including bioinformatics. Students undertook a range of experiments including direct observation of live wild-type zebrafish at different stages of embryogenesis, whole-mount in situ hybridization of mutant and wild-type embryos, vital dye staining of mutant and wild-type embryos, and pharmacological treatments to perturb normal development. These laboratories engaged the students by providing a hands-on, research-centered experience, while also enhancing their written (worksheets and laboratory reports) and oral (group presentation) communication skills. We describe the proceedings of each lab and the logistics of preparing and running these labs for 400–500 students (120 students taking lab each day), and provide a preliminary assessment of the success of the laboratories data based on student evaluations.

Copyright information:

© 2009, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

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